Punjab Public Service Commission
Special Material For Punjab Public
Service Commission (PPSC) Pre Exam, 2012
Topic : Folk Music of Punjab
So far as the question of folk Music of Punjab is concerned the
geographical situation of Punjab is such that it has always remained a battle
eld. Whosoever attacked India, always came through Punjab. In this way, all the
invaders that came here left some impact of their music on the people of Punjab.
Before discussing the music of Punjab, it is necessary to know about the meaning
of folk Music and what is the importance of Tunes, speech sounds and Melodies in
it. Here we are giving some thought about it. What is folk Music ? When de ning
Music and Folk Music, Dr. Vanjara Bedi has written, "Music is that speech sound
which unites the soul with the universe. From the sound strikes, when any race
begins to recognise the sound of his soul and form, those very speech sounds are
folk music for him. _Folk music is identi ed with race and character."
According to Dr. Gurnam Singh," By folk music is meant the music of a common or
a layman which expresses the community feelings of a limited race."
Dear Candidate, This Material is from Punjab PSC Study Kit. For Details
Dr. Jit Singh Joshi is of the Opinion, "The music of folk songs
are the waves of the minds of the people-simple, easier and natural. These music
sounds are received by the people from their heritage. There is no need of any
regular training from any teacher. The Importance of Tune, Sound and Melody:
There has been a lot of importance of Tune, sound and melody in music. There is
also importance of steps in it. In the intonation of tune, the time taken is
given the names of steps. Shri Uma Shanker Bahadur has said about classical
music, "In this way, there are two systems of classical music which are
prevalent. One is known by the name of Dhrupad and the second one is called 'KhyaF.
The technique of Dhrupad is considered to be the most ancient. In Dhrupad full
attention is paid to the each tune. The singer has not the facility that he
might wave his tune. He can hot even take the liberty of lilting. In music
lilting is called that group of tunes, which a singer uses frequently during the
music. The beginning of 'Khval' is considered to be at the time of Tansen.
Otherwise folk music is a simple music. The singers of these songs do not take
the guidance of any teacher. They listen to this music through their ears and
retain them in their mind. From the view point of Dr. Dharmveer Singh Nagra: Dr.
Dharam Veer Singh Nagra has done a very signi cant and great job in writing a
book on Folk Music. There is not much literature available in this subject in
the folk literature. He has himself written in the introduction of this book.
"Punjabi folk music is such an area of study, which has not been able to
interest many scholars. Perhaps it is due to the lack or absence of resources.
No doubt many scholars have made the literary importance and the
functional role of folk songs in the social cultural context as a subject of
their studies. But all these studies remain incomplete and lame so long as these
folk songs are not studied along with the music devices. Some scholars, now,
have became active in this eld to take control aver those tunes which are
linked with the soil and heritage of Punjabis. By taking a close look at the
index of this book, it comes to be known that the. folk literature is found in
many forms and also the reference of folk music is also made. First of all,
light is thrown on the birth and development of folk music. Other headings are 'Flaria',
'Lori' 'Kikli', 'Boalis', 'Suhag, Ghori', 'Sithnian', Chhand', 'Lohri', 'Trinjan',
"I'appa' and 'Mahiya' etc. Some details about all of them have been given. Along
with it are given lilts and tunes as well. This effort in itself is a great
It is the conception of Dr. Vanjara Bedi that conceptions and
tunes in which the folk songs are sung, are in pure forms of the folk style. The
heartthrobs of simple rural Punjabis are heard in it. They are in unison with
the life of the people because of emerging from the inner emotions of the
Punjabis as far as their melody of life is concerned and arc immersed in their
esh and blood. It is a sort of stamp of Punjabi character on these conceptions
and they are unique from the melodies sung in other areas.
Folk Music in the beginning: In the beginning those folk songs
arc found which have their own unique music. These folk songs became popular
only on account of their inner music. Besides, there was a unique music in the
songs sung at different occasions.
Thumri: Thumri is a part of folk music. About the origin of
Thumri, the author made the observation, "There is only one idea which dominates
in the folk music and also one melody. But in the actual life of the people when
one idea predominates, some other ideas also come to him in order to express
these ideas, some people adopted the system of Thumri during the times of
Mughuls. 'Tapas' and 'Ghazafs' also become prevalent from the very time of the
origin of Thumri. Gujri as the folk music: Gujri is also a folk music, which is
sung by the people of Gujjar caste. 'Chaita' comes in the folkmusic of
Bihar. In such a type of music, a woman suffering from separation expresses her
emotions of mind.
The Music style of Punjabi 'Kissas': 'Kissa kav' is a
popular poetical form in Punjab. There is a unique music style of every 'Kissa'.
The 'Kissa' of Mirza-Sahiban is mainly sung in 'Sarang' metre and in 'Kehrawa'
beat. But some people sing it in Tilang metre and in Aad-chautal' beat. The
Kissa of Heer-Ranjha is mainly sung in Bhairvi, Sohni-Mahiwal in Pahari and that
of 'yossouf-Julekhan' in Bhairvi metre and in the Keharwa lilt. The Kissa of
Puran Bhagat is generally sung in Aasawari and Mand Meters judiciously inter
Musical Style of Folk Songs: The folk songs of Punjab
have their oun musical styles. For example, 'Mahiya', is mainly sung in
indigenous and local 'Raginis'-e.g. Pahari, Sindhi, Bhairvi and sindhra etc. A
very popular melody of Mahiya is sung in 'Mand'. There is no pre-detcrmined form
of prevalent folk poetic form 'Dhola' in 'Sandal Bar' and its melody s
different from 'Pothohari Dholean'. 'Bolis'- have their own unique form, tt is
smallest poetical form of Punjabi. It is mainly used is 'Giddha' ind 'Bhangra'
folk dances. The 'Bolian' of Giddha are sung in the 'Tilang' nets For 'Loris',
the tilang and bhairvi meters are used. In this way, different tunes are
used for different types of folk songs.
Characteristics of folk Music of Punjab: There is a
spontaneous »rowth of folk music in Punjab. They are not dependent on any rules.
They grow in a way as wild plants grow in the forests without being giving my
water, without the look after of a gardner. The Punjabis are fond of iinging and
dancing from the very beginning. Therefore, the folk music of Punjab is as old
as the public life of Punjabi people. Punjabis have been
always fond of music, it does not matter if this music is of an ilementary type.
It is a special characteristic of Punjabi life to hang a jell round the neck of.
a cattle. It shows the love for music among the 3unjabis. The labourers while
carrying weight produce a sound, which has ome rhythm and music in it. There was
such a music in the folk songs of Punjab, on account of which they are popular
even today inspite of he fact that no
body knows the names of their composers. Even folk lances are full of music.
Small tinkling bells (Ghungroos) are tied on the feet, which produce a sort of
music. Now even the Punjabi women have tarted to wear a sort of ornament, which
The Qawals (singers) of Punjab: Singers, Raagis and
player of labab (Musical instrument) are always to be seen on the land of
Punjab, fhe groups of Raas-Leela go on wandering from city to city and village o
village and relate the fables of Pooran Bhagat and Prahlad Bhagat through songs
sung with the help of musical instruments. These group night relate the story of
a hero or related to some spiritual aspect through, ongs with music. These
people generally live in rural areas. The tradition if Ram Leela is very
ancient. When Ram Leelas are performed at different Dices, the help taken of
music is to be seen there. Even in the Nautankies jf the ancient times while
staging a drama, the help of music is always aken. Music in the Fairs: Many
fairs are held in Punjab. Some folk musicians can be seen in these fairs showing
their feats. Even professional ady dancers used to dance in
the fairs before the partition of the country and this dance was always
performed with the help of some musical instruments. Folk Music: A part of
Punjabi Life: Folk music has remained a part of life of the people of Punjab.
Whenever a Punjabi woman chums the nilk, she ties tinkling bells on the chumming
stick. It shows her interest n the music. Music is used both at the time of
gaiety and sorrow. The Songs at the marriages are the symbol of it. The
importance of music can be gauged from the fact that whenever there is a death
in family, the mourning cries too have some music in it.
The Different Instruments Available: Different types of
musical instruments have been used from the beginning. Following are some of the
main instruments. Dholki (Mini Drum): Dholki is generally found in most of the
households. The girls start playing it on the occasions of marriage or on
some other happy occasions. According to Prof Nagar, 'Tappa' is that folk song
with a single rhyme, which is sung in a Giddha or dance. There can be given one
example of 'Tappa' - Maujan Pia Jug Mane Asien Tere Naukar Haan Tere Dil Dian
Rabb Jane. Drum (Dhol): Drums are generally used in the Bhangra dance. According
to Prof. Dharam Veer Singh Nagar, 'Jhumar' is a male dance of the people living
in the jungles of Sandalbar, which is performed in the month of 'Saun' on the
occasion of fairs. It is danced on the lilt of drum. The sound of drum can be
heard miles away in the kikali dance. Th dancers of 'Jhumr' dance around the
drum. Pitcher : A pitcher is not a musical instrument. Iris an equipment of
daily use. But it is also used in the form of music. Pitcher is found ir, every
Musical Instruments with Strings: Among such instruments
arc 'Do-Tara', 'Benjo', 'Sarangi' and 'Rabab' etc. These are used by ordinary
artistes and give a good time to the people by building up an atomsphert of
gaiety. Sarangi is also used during singing religious poems. Harmonium:
Harmonium is commonly used as a music instrument it is being used since a very
long time. Now harmoniums an also available in rural areas as well. The help of
harmonium is taken whil singing. Tabor (Damroo): A tabor generally can be seen
in the hands o 'Madaris' (street players). They take the help of this instrument
whili performing a street show to produce music.
Gong and Cench-Shell (Sankh): These are also a sort of
foil musical instruments. They are mainly used in the religious places. Becaus
every body can play these instruments without any training, therefore these
the position of folk musical instruments. Flute: Flute is such a folk music
instrument, which inthralls eac and every body. Some young men go out in the
moonlit night and ph on ute, so that they may enjoy the unison of moon lit
night and the sound of ute. Been: Been is generally found with snake charmers.
They make the snakes to dance and sway their head with the help of this musical
instrument. Nagara (Large Kettle Drum): Nagaras
are used at religious places to produce loud musical sounds. Pipe (Algoza): Many
types of folk music are produced with the help of this musical instrument. In
this way, it can be said that many types of musical instruments are found in
Punjab. Folk Music has always made the land of these ve rivers romantic. Folk
Singers of Punjab: The prominent folk singers of Punjab are: Asa Singh Mastana,
Jagat Singh Jagga, Surinder Kaur, Narinder Biba,. Harcharan Grewal, Swaran Lata,
Chandi Ram, Yamla Jat, Shanti, Didar Sandhu, Mohammed Sadique, Ranjit Kaur,
Sudesh Kapoor, Gurdas vlann. Priti Bala, Kuldip Manak and Dr. Harphool etc.
Conclusion: Folk instruments and folk music are also
linked to cultural and historical aspects of the society. Prof. Nagra has
expressed he importance of folk songs in the following words "This aged back
folk songs have conserved the history of centuries. The ups and downs that
Punjab has been witnessing from the last many centuries and the calamities that
has befallen on Punjab, have been faithfully elucidated by our folk songs